Jacob M. Appel

Jacob M. Appel is the author of three literary novels, nine short story collections, an essay collection, a cozy mystery, a thriller, and a volume of poetry. His writings in various genres have received numerous awards including the first prize in the William Faulkner-William Wisdom competition in four distinct categories – essay, short story, novella and novel – making him the only author ever to achieve such honors. 

Appel is currently an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Medical Education at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and an attending physician at Mount Sinai Hospital, Beth Israel Hospital, and St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital in New York City. He holds numerous degrees including doctorates in medicine and law. 

His essays on the nexus of law and medicine have appeared in The New York Times, New York Post, New York Daily News, The Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, Detroit Free Press, Orlando Sentinel, The Providence Journal and many regional newspapers. The prolific author will have two books released this year: Who Says You’re Dead? will soon be released by Algonquin and Amazing Things Are Happening Here was released early in 2019.

“An original, compelling, and provocative exploration of ethical issues in our society, with thoughtful and balanced commentary. I have not seen anything like it.” — Alan Lightman, author of Einstein’s Dreams 

Drawing upon the author’s two decades of teaching medical ethics, as well as his work as a practicing psychiatrist, this profound and addictive little book offers up challenging ethical dilemmas and asks readers "What would you do?"

  • A daughter gets tested to see if she’s a match to donate a kidney to her father. The test reveals that she is not the man’s biological daughter. Should the doctor tell the father? Or the daughter?

  • A deaf couple prefers a deaf baby. Should they be allowed to use medical technology to ensure they have a child who can’t hear? 

  • Who should get custody of an embryo created through IVF when a couple divorces?

  • Or, when you or a loved one is on life support, who says you’re dead? 

In short, engaging scenarios, Dr. Appel takes on hot-button issues that many of us will confront: genetic screening, sexuality, privacy, and doctor-patient confidentiality. He unpacks each hypothetical with a brief reflection drawing from science, philosophy, and history, explaining how others have approached these controversies in real-world cases. Who Says You’re Dead? is designed to defy easy answers and to stimulate thought and even debate among professionals and armchair ethicists alike.

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